to the Future: After a Domain Conference Shakeout T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Shines in 2011 Show on Fort Lauderdale Beach
|The final business day at
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 got underway Tuesday morning
(October 18) with another bountiful brunch at the
Ritz Carlton Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
This brunch was special though - it was the 7th
Annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards Brunch that honored
companies and individuals who excelled in our
industry over the past 12 months.
Before the awards were handed out there were a
couple of other business items to take care of.
Those started with me taking the stage to provide
an update on third quarter domain sales which
showed a nice improvement over the same quarter
a year ago. I will be detailing the stats I shared
in our next newsletter
that will be out within the next 24 hours (I'll return to this page and add a link
to that report as soon as it is published).
A series of two-minute elevator pitches followed
my talk, giving attendees a chance to promote their
own companies or events. One big project (that was
hatched just a few hours earlier at the show) was
announced by PPX International Chairman Gregg
McNair and veteran domain investor Bob Olea,
who also happens to be an experienced commercial
Journal's Ron Jackson giving an
update on domain aftermarket trends
Tuesday morning (Oct. 18, 2011)
McNair has been a long
time proponent of The
Water School, a life saving charitable
organization that provides clean water solutions that
are helping eradicate water borne diseases in many
countries around the world. McNair has organized a
number of vision trips to Africa to give
others a first hand look at The Water School's good work
(including one that is just getting underway as I
While talking about possible future trips with
Olea, Bob suggested to McNair that they explore the possibility of
getting a major airline sponsor to charter a jet and
take a whole
planeload of industry supporters to Nairobi to help raise funds and awareness for The Water
School. The two wanted to let people know about the
idea with hopes of rallying as many as possible
around it (dozens have already indicated they would
make such a journey).
This would be a huge project that will have a lot
of hurdles to get over, but that doesn't frighten
either man. If they are able to make it happen, due to the tremendous amount of planning that
will be involved, odds
are the trip would be scheduled sometime in
2013. It's a great goal and however it
works out it is bound to help raise awareness for a
very worthy organization.
Olea (left) and Gregg McNair let
crowd in on an ambitious project they
exploring to help The Water School.
After the elevator pitches
it was time for the morning's main event -
presentation of the Annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards.
Nominees and winners were selected by those who have
attended the 22 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences held
over the past seven years.
Jurovich and Roy Hooper (center),
accepted awards from
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu
(right) for Best
New Monetizing Solution and Sponsor of
|The first winner announced was for
Best New Monetizing Solution. That award
went to Frank Schilling's new company, InternetTraffic.com.
The company also won a second award as Sponsor
of the Year.
The company was so busy during the show
(presumably signing up new clients) that no one
was on hand at brunch to pick up their
trophies, but T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard
Neu made sure they got them Tuesday evening when
he connected with InternetTraffic team members Vern
Jurovich and Roy Hooper.
Two award winners were not able to make the
trip to Fort Lauderdale Beach - Citrix,
who won the We Get It Award and Francois
Carrillo, who won a special Best Domain
News Aggregator award for Domaining.com.
The next four award winners are shown below:
CEO Tim Schumacher picked up
the Best Overall Domain Solution award
Grant of Adirondacks.com (and many
other sites) won the Developer of the Year
Berkens (with wife Judi) won the Best
Domain Blog award for TheDomains.com.
Schilling won the prestigious Domainer
of the Year award as voters again showed
their appreciation for the way he changed the
monetization game with InternetTraffic.com.
The awards presentations
closed with the announcement of the two new
members elected to T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Domain
Hall of Fame (the top two vote getters
each year are added to the Hall).
year's inductees are DNForum.com owner Adam
Dicker and T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Co-Founder Howard Neu. Neu follows his
fellow show Co-Founder Rick Schwartz
into the Hall.
have previously received the honor were also
called to the stage and while there I was
given the pleasure of announcing that Adam and
Howard had been chosen by their peers as this
After the awards
presentations it was time for the day's first
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Domain Hall of Fame
members Adam Dicker and Howard Neu.
That wound up being one of the show's
best sessions as a panel of experts discussed The
Hard Work of Developing a Business Out of a Domain
Name. A half dozen men who have done exactly that
generously provided the details on the tactics that
worked for them.
Tuesday (Oct. 18) panel on how to develop a domain
into a business featured
(left to right): Warren Royal (Bobbleheads.com),
Ari Goldberger (EsqWIRE.com),
Sean Sullivan (Tier 1 Development), Richard
Swerdlow (Condos.com and
Houses.com), plus Joe Melville and Greg
Balestrieri (both from Candy.com).
Next up ICM Registry Chairman
and CEO Stuart Lawley, who appeared with Frank
Schilling in a Monday session, returned to the stage
for a solo session in which he talked about why he
invested more than $20 million and many years
of his life to get the .xxx extension approved
A short break followed, then The
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. live domain auction got underway
shortly after 2pm with a sizeable crowd on hand for
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. live domain auction gets underway Tuesday,
October 18, 2011
Aside from the
weather, the auction was the only major
disappointment at this year's show. There
were high hopes going into the event but the
final sales tally came in a good bit lower
than expected - approximately $284,000.
No one can do anything about
the weather of course, but T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard
Neu tried to do something to change
the downward spiral live auctions have been in
at just about all conferences for several years now. They
number of changes in the traditional auction
process but did not get the results they were
the bad general economy has a lot to do with
that but Schwartz and Neu still think it is
possible to reverse the decline by creating a better
system for selecting and selling
domains. They said they will continue to
make changes aimed at revitalizing the live
events that have also been impacted by an
explosion of online auctions in recent
Wayne Wheat running the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011
live domain auction.
is a much more competitive environment today
than it was during the glory years of live
auctions, so this is a nut that won't be easy to
crack, but you have to give them credit for
auction was followed by the show's final business
session, a Meeting of the Chiefs that featured
eight company leaders who provided valuable advice on
running a domain business, as well as commentary on a
wide range of industry issues.
A Meeting of the Chiefs closed the business
portion of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011
late Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 18). The dais featured
(left to right): John Ferber,
Michael Berkens, Adam Dicker, Michael
Gilmour, moderator Howard Neu (standing),
Ari Goldberger, Larry Fischer, Dr.
Chris Hartnett and Scott Richter.
right: DomainHoldings.com Co-Founder John
Ferber, who was the subject of our April
2011 Cover Story, comments during the
Meeting of the Chiefs.
this session concluding the business portion of
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011, the conference would near its
close Tuesday evening the same way it had begun - with
a pair of social events that gave guests more of the
intimate networking opportunities that many value
above everything else. That large scale, face to
face relationship building is something
conferences do that cannot be duplicated
final evening at Fort Lauderdale Beach began at 8pm
with a gathering for coffee and dessert. This
was scheduled to run only an hour but everyone was so
engaged in their conversations it ran until 10pm.
gather for coffee & dessert at the Ritz Carlton
After the dessert hour (that turned
into two), many in the crowd took the elevators a dozen
floors higher to join a party that Ari
Goldberger and Larry Fischer (two
of the most successful domain investors of all time)
hosted in their suite near the top of the Ritz.
wall to wall crowd filled Ari Goldberger and Larry
for their closing night party at T.R.A.F.F.I.C
Fischer/Goldberger soiree would later grow so big that
hotel staff wound up moving it from the suite to a
larger location away from other guest rooms. The Ritz
always aims to please and I'm sure their solution kept
Ari, Larry and their guests happy as well as the
neighbors on their floor!
next morning the curtain on T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011
officially came down with a conference tradition - the
Farewell Breakfast that ends the event on a perfect
note, sending guests on their way back home with fond
memories and a full stomach!
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees at the Farewell
Breakfast Wednesday morning
(Oct. 19) that officially closed the 2011 show on
Fort Lauderdale Beach.
After breakfast, guests would head back to homes
scattered all over the world.
Truc Tran (left) and Reidar Rytter-Fjoeren (right)
both came to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. from
(and met each other for the first time on Fort
Lauderdale Beach). They visited with lead
gen whiz Braden Pollock (center) from California
at Wednesday's Farewell Breakfast.
For those who missed
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011, it's not too early to start
planning to attend next year's event that will be held
October 7-10, 2012 with the Ritz
Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach again
serving as the host venue. If Florida's typical dry,
sunny October weather pattern returns in 2012 the Ritz
will seem like a brand new venue even to those who
were there this year. The rare four-day rainstorm
obscured one of the world's most beautiful settings
this year but odds favor the Ritz, the ocean and the
beach being seen in their full glory next time around.
At the time of this
writing, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. organizers were exploring the
possibility of adding a May 2012 show in Las
Vegas that would return the conference to the
popular two-show East/West configuration it
used in 2005, a tandem that helped trigger a
multi-year boom in the domain business. The game has changed a lot
since then, but one thing remains the same - endless
opportunities are out there. By bringing the
industry's most successful people together under one
roof T.R.A.F.F.I.C. continues to play an instrumental role
in identifying where those opportunities are now and
helping Internet entrepreneurs make the most of
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